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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
2015 RB ready to lead offense

By Damon Sayles

Consider the torch passed.

When DeSoto (Texas) lost to eventual Texas Class 5A Division I state champion Allen (Texas) in the semifinal round, 2015 running back Jatory Sparks-Brown was approached by a teammate and was given some last-minute advice.

That advice to Sparks-Brown: Put the team on his back in 2013.

The person offering the advice: Ohio State signee Dontre Wilson.

“After the Allen game, he told me, ‘It’s your time, little bro. You’ve got to shine,’ ” Sparks-Brown said. “I take that and think hard about it when I’m in the weight room and at track practice.”

Sparks-Brown is expected to be the leading successor to Wilson, who finished his senior year with more than 2,600 rushing and receiving yards and 46 touchdowns, 37 from rushing. Although rest was rare, when Wilson was on the sidelines, Sparks-Brown often times was the go-to guy, and he delivered.

Sparks-Brown rushed 55 times for 333 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught five passes for 47 yards. Look for his workload to greatly improve -- and the 6-foot, 190-pound back is up for the challenge.

“I don’t like saying too much. I’d rather show more than I tell,” Sparks-Brown said. “I bring a lot to table. I can run between the tackles. I can do an Orgeon offense where you spread it out or an Alabama offense where you pound it. My eyes are open for different types of offenses.”

Teamed up with 2014 running back Jaimon Peterson, Sparks-Brown could be a part of a nice 1-2 punch for DeSoto next season. Sparks-Brown is the bigger of the two backs, which could equate to more carries between the tackles.

Sparks-Brown has received early interest from Notre Dame and is hoping to attend the Fighting Irish’s summer camp. He’s not ashamed, however, to admit that he’d love to eventually get a scholarship offer from one school in particular.

“Ever since I watched Adrian Peterson leave Palestine to go to Oklahoma, I’ve been a fan,” Sparks-Brown said. “He’s my favorite player. The things he’s done, I’d like to do or do better. I also like DeMarco Murray and what he did.”

Sparks-Brown plans to be a much-improved back this offseason, and he’s using track and field to assist. He runs the 100 and 200 meters, as well as the 4x100 and 4x200 relays for DeSoto.

It’s all in an effort to help himself, help his team and keep a promise he made to Wilson.

“I can’t let my big bro down,” Sparks-Brown said. “We went through too much in practice and the offseason and all through the summer. I just can’t let him down.”